It was this time last year that my wife and I had enjoyed our wedding day and when talking about possible weekend break destinations to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, my wife was adamant that there was only one place that she wanted to visit……. Bath.
It was a great idea, as the historic city of Bath is only an hour and a half train journey away from London, it meant we could spend more time exploring than travelling. It also meant there would be time to experience the very reason the City of Bath had it’s name, the famous Bath Spas.
Bath has been linked with its thermal spa since Roman times (it’s always the Romans! Those Romans did enjoy their bathing time), when it was named Aquae Sulis (interpreted as ‘the waters of Sulis‘) and a large complex was built, which included the baths and shrine to the Roman god, Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and war.
Unfortunately, if we thought a dip in these ‘revitalising’ waters would be just the tonic on our visit, we had to think again! As the water is probably more renowned for the nasty amoebas lurking in the pool nowadays, which means it’s been shut off to the public since 1979.
However, if you fancy sampling Bath’s famous thermal spas as we did, fear not, as the Thermae Bath Spa around the corner took care of our bathing needs. Re-opened in 2006, the Spa itself is in good shape, a gleaming glass creation.
The Thermae Bath Spa complex is made up of several rooms, with the main spa bath, along with a small jacuzzi, at the bottom of the building. If you’re feeling flush, there are treatment rooms where you can get pampered even more. There are several floors, which includes four steam rooms and a meeting room (!). Each steam room uses a particular aromatherapy scent, including sandalwood and jasmine. My personal favourite was the steam room scented with eucalyptus mint, as my nasal passages were given a thorough workout while we let the steam do the talking. With our senses suitably invigorated (and a little less congested!), we made our way to the top floor, for the piece de resistance, the rooftop pool.
As the lift doors parted, we were faced with the sunken pool and the many temporary inhabitants. Not wanting to wait a minute longer, we plunged straight in and got comfortable on one of the many steps available. Unfortunately, as has been so often the case in the spring of 2012, the rain was trying its utmost to ruin the occasion. However, not even rain could dampen our spirits as the thermal waters took the sting out of the damp weather. The spa also offers ‘twilight’ packages for two, where you can enjoy the sunset from this fantastic vantage point.
As we sat in the beautiful warm water, we managed to soak any cares we had away, whilst enjoying the views over Bath’s picturesque city centre. The views over Bath (and especially the Abbey) were amazing and were worth the entrance fee alone.
We enjoyed our time in Bath and our trip to the Thermae Bath Spa definitely made it more memorable. We left Bath in the early afternoon suitably refreshed and, more importantly, clean. On our next trip to Bath, I cannot wait to view nightfall from the Spa.
NB If you fancy a visit to the Thermae Bath Spa and you are travelling via train, I would definitely recommend that you check out Visit Bath’s website as they currently have a deal for 4 hours for the price of 2, along with several other experiences in Bath. Also, if you are travelling on a strict budget, I would recommend that you take a pair of flip flops and a travel towel along (if you have a big enough bag!), as the towels, bath robe and slippers aren’t included in the price of your visit. These 3 items will add a further £9 onto your overall bill!
By Gavin London